Located in the South Pacific Ocean, Fiji consists of an archipelago of more than 332 islands. In the 17th and 18th centuries the islands were occupied by the Dutch and British Empires; however the country was granted independence in 1970. Compared with other Pacific countries that have experienced colonisation, Fijian culture remains a rich and a prominent part of everyday life, with increasing influences of Chinese, Indian and European cultures as a result of migration. Traditional arts include weaving, music, dance, theatre, pottery and woodcarving. Today, tourism and sugar are Fiji's most prominent sources of income.
Fiji has a rich literary tradition, with a proliferation of published works coinciding with the country's independence in 1970. Some of the earliest published authors include Raymond Pillai and Pio Manoa. Author and politician Satendra Nandan is renowned for his poetry and short stories. His semi-autobiographical novel The Wounded Sea paints an intimate portrait of village life. Poet Sudesh Mistra uses language to reflect the mosaic of cultures in Fiji, seamlessly weaving elements of English, Fijian and Hindi in his writings. Larry Thomas is a contemporary playwright and director, whose 1998 play The Anniversary Present explores the unique rhythms and creative power of Fijian English. Joseph Veramo is a contemporary novelist whose works deal with modern themes revolving around cultural identity and insight into Fijian culture; his works include The Black Messiah,The Shark and Moving through the Streets.
Written and directed by Vilsoni Hereniko, the film The Land Has Eyes has been praised for its authenticity in its portrayal of the deep textures of Polynesian life and culture.The Land Has Eyes received the ‘Best Overall Entry’ award at the 2005 Wairoa Maori Film Festival and the ‘Best Dramatic Feature’ award at the 2004 Toronto Imagine Native Film & Media Arts Festival. It remains the first and only feature film from Fiji to date.